Are you ready? It's time to start REALLY thinking about the NFL Draft. The weeks and weeks of preparation are almost complete! But what mysteries does the Draft still hold? Who will the Packers pick? Why will they pick that player? There are so many things to consider!
But fear not! We are here to help you sort through those things, equipping you with amazing and exciting information in the days leading up to the start of the Draft, starting with a short discussion on what could be the Packers Draft strategy. Here are five things the Packers may be planning to do during the draft and the days following.
1. Best Player Available
You'll hear a lot of analysts talking this week about teams taking "the best player available." They mean that the team is selecting the player they believe is the most valuable player on the board, regardless of need. This is a great idea in theory, but it may not always hold water.
For example, say the Packers have evaluated West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith as the best player in the draft, but he slides through the first round and is suddenly available with the 26th pick. Do the Packers take him? Probably not, since he wouldn't fill anything even remotely resembling a need for them.
So how do teams decide who the "best" player is? Well, it's most likely a combination of what they need and how a player will fit with their organization. The Packers might need a defensive end, but if the only ones available would be better suited to a 4-3 scheme, they'll probably go in a different direction.
Still, no matter who the Packers take, they'll say they took the best player available.
2. Go Big Early
The rarest commodity in the NFL is a player who's big, fast, and skilled at his position. I know, that's pretty radical thinking, but it's true. No matter how complex NFL offenses and defenses get, the teams with the biggest, strongest, and fastest players still usually win.
With that in mind, it's important to acquire the big guys early, and that probably means picking a lineman. Quality big men are in short supply, and the Packers could definitely use some help along both lines.
3. Skill Positions Late
Once you've gotten your big men, filling out the skill positions becomes the priority, and the Packers again can use some help there. Fortunately, this is considered a deep draft at running back, so the Packers will probably be able to pick a lineman early without worrying about missing out on a running back who can contribute.
4. Trade Back
Ted Thompson is almost legendary for finagling trades, especially when he wants to move down a few slots. That strategy would be pretty useful for the Packers this year, as they enter the Draft with only eight picks in their pocket, which would tie for the second fewest picks in the Ted Thompson era.
Thompson loves to accumulate picks since it gives him more shots to hit big on a player, and since there are a number of potentially useful players available in later rounds, this week might be a great opportunity to rack up a few more selections. San Francisco and Atlanta have both stockpiled a ton of picks, and although they're both within the NFC, they could be useful trading partners.
5. Mine the Secondary Market
The Packers do as good of a job as anybody of scouring the market for undrafted free agents once the final selection is called, and this year will likely be no different. Just because they don't address an area of need via the draft doesn't mean they don't have a player in mind. If they can't find a suitable pick in the three days of the draft, you can almost bet that they'll be working the phones, trying to shore up that position before the weekend is through.